God's Faithful And Afflicted Servant

Psalm 119
49 Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.
50 This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.
51 The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law.
52 I remembered thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself.
53 Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.
54 Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.
55 I have remembered thy name, O LORD, in the night, and have kept thy law.
56 This I had, because I kept thy precepts.

This is the seventh section of Psalm 119. Having covered a more detailed overview of the Psalm, it is my intention to go more thoroughly through each section. Briefly, each section is according to the letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Each letter contains 8 verses that begin with that specific letter. Zain is the seventh letter, so each verse, in the Hebrew, begins with a word starting with the letter Zain.
In Hebrew, unlike English, each letter was originally also a word. We do not know the meaning of every letter today, but we do know most. Zain means, "A weapon". Since the Psalmist built the Psalm based on the letters, it is likely the meaning of each letter played in his thoughts as he composed each section. After going through this section, I had to conclude that the letter's meaning wasn't used, though the Word being tied to a sword would be very scriptural. What I perceive the Psalmist did was like we might do in "R is for Remember" and build upon that. Though our "R" is also a word, as in "are", we often will do something like the former. In Hebrew, the word for "remember" is "zakar". The "z" is the letter "Zain". So I see, "Z is for Zakar", and so the Psalmist wrote.
This Psalm is also based upon the usage of a host of words that are "legal" terms in the Hebrew. I have gone into a more thorough definition of each word, as it has been encountered, in the previous sections. I would recommend going there to find those expansions. I will cover additional words as we come across them.

Hope for the Suffering Faithful
49 Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.

In my research through the Psalms, I have found "remembering" to be a major theme. It is even a charge for us to call to remembrance the things God has done. "Remember" is the lead-in word for verses 49, 52 and 55. Through the usage in this section, we can see the use of "remember".
In each of these three verses we find a very distinct connection in the God and man relationship. The remembrance does nothing if there is no relationship with God. We see that relationship detailed in the first verse as "thy servant". Later we shall look at the name of Yahweh used in direct connection to the remembrance.
This section launches with the Psalmist petitioning his Lord, for he announces his position as "servant". He is presenting his request for God to work on his behalf. Now we actually have two occasions of remembrance in this first verse. The Psalmist is asking God to remember, in the first half. The second half is the prayer based upon the Psalmist's remembering God's Words of hope and promise. I believe this is a special kind of prayer that God takes great delight in. It expresses a richness of interrelationship that is revolving upon God's own Words. We simply cannot have that kind of relationship unless we are in to God's Word. We may read some passages that someone told us are words of promise, but we cannot know if they are sure for us unless we feed upon God's Word continually. It is then that we gain understanding of the foundations that promises and life are given upon. For example, there is a contemporary song based on this verse in Jeremiah:

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

There are even posters and cards with this verse on them. People think it is a wonderful promise of comfort. Indeed it is, but how few are familiar with its context! They would almost remind God of His Words upon which they have hoped, as if charging God for negligence when they know nothing of what the promise really was. For those who don't know. The words from Jeremiah were given of God to those Jews going into captivity. They were to be captives in a foreign land and many die of old age, never seeing deliverance. God wanted these, who were addressed, to know that after the captivity, He would cause their return and reestablishment. Yes, God did plan good for them, but only after the time of punishment. Funny, those postcard companies don't let you in on the context, isn't it?

50 This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.
The word for "affliction" meaning "affliction, poverty, misery". It refers to all kinds of suffering, not just persecution. The Psalmist is undergoing some kind of suffering. He is a true servant of God and he holds close fellowship with God's Word. The "word" here is that for "speech" as well and it is in the plural. God's Words that are life to those who are walking closely with Him are more than just "words". They are active words of life, the very speech of God.
The "quickened" is a word indicating the giving of life. God's Words are life-giving as well as resurrecting. This weary Psalmist sighs in the comfort, during the suffering. If it were not for God's Words of promise and comfort, he would simply collapse, but those Words empower him in going a little further. If we remember the sufferings of Job in this, we can see even today the servant of God in like suffering. He sees the ungodly prosper and attribute their blessings to God's approval in their lives while he continues to suffer and they challenge his confession of faith. They, like Job's friends, would scorn and deride him as obviously not being pleasing to God. They likewise would think, "Who ever suffered so much who was pleasing to God? He tells me to repent and turn to God, but look at him! He suffers and I prosper at every turn! Surely his devoutness is a farce and God is not so displeased with me. He must be a hypocrite. If God was displeased with my lifestyle, I would be the one suffering. Bah to him!"
The first two verses of this section bear a keen testimony that the sufferings of the godly didn't just happen to Job, but no godly men after. This Psalmist is a godly servant that the world would contemn and scorn. He suffers, but he also knows God's Spirit-filled Words that truly give life.

51 The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law.
This suffering servant, like Job, has become the mark for the scorning of the proud. He is a God-fearing man, who has come under reproach of the powerful and well to do of this world. The ones who are proud because of power or wealth.
It is generally those who do "well", in this world's eyes, who become exceedingly proud. They feel they have attained and have something to be proud about. From their supposed "lofty" position, they view as vile the poor or suffering godly man. They see them as beneath them and worthy of being looked upon as "untouchables", as it were.
With my description, you might be recalling some certain proud politician or employer. I wouldn't want that to stand alone. The most vile kind of proud are those in the religious camp. They are the ones such as had Christ crucified. The Pharisees were exceedingly proud and had Jesus in the greatest derision, unto death.
Despite the mound of scorn, we find the testimony of faithfulness in the second part.
For the word for "law", we find the "torath", plural for those directions God gives us. For the word translated "declined", we find a word meaning "stretch forth" or "spread out". The phrase for the second half indicating he hasn't turned away from the directions God has given him. Though the Psalmist suffers, he remains the servant of God. He does not serve God because of some deal, "You do this for me and I'll do that for you." He maintains his consecration to hold to God's ways, come what may. What we have found is an appeal based upon God's Word. One important thing I know he would have found, is a view of the character of God. Knowing this, he has hope and comfort, though the wicked temporarily prevail in their mischief.

The Noble Pilgrim
52 I remembered thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself.

Here we find the second "remember" section begins. Now we see this "servant" of Yahweh addressing his master by name. The first of two occasions in this section. As the servant, in the preceding section, he requested for God to remember His Words in application to his own case. He based that appeal upon being a faithful servant. Here we see this servant remembering God's glorious dealings in scripture. Most likely, he recalled things such as the deliverance from suffering and slavery in Egypt, and God's unrestrained manifestations of power on behalf of his servants.
It was this recollection of old that served as the comfort for the terrors he was facing then. He knew that the suffering did go for a time, but God essentially said, "Thus far and no more" in that case. He knew God listened and heard their prayers and arose in His majesty and glory on their behalf. He is a God full of compassion and justice. He will behold the transgression of the wicked against His faithful servants and will not keep silence for ever. Now it is true there are martyrs, as true prophets of old were also slaughtered under Old Testament conditions.
The fact that such does happen is no reason to cast aside hope in the New Testament period, believing the lie of Satan that God only helped those of the Old Testament. Remembering was not just for then. We are to remember God's ear for his suffering servants and His care for them. Pay close attention to the following passage. It is from the New Testament to believers. It expresses that word of hope and call to faithfulness, if perchance you are called to suffer. As I said, it is in the New Testament, but it was predominantly quoted from Psalm 34:12-18. Peter was remembering the Old Testament for the comfort and direction of those in the New:

10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. 13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? 14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. 17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. 1 Peter 3:10-17

53 Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.
The word translated "horror" here means "burning heat, raging heat". I saw in a literal translation, "hot zeal". I do not believe the thought is fearful terror. What I see is that demonstrated by Christ in the Temple, when He chased out the money changers. He was consumed with hot zeal in a rage over His beholding the wicked merchandising in God's holy place. That should not be a special "prophetic" sign of Christ only. ALL who love God WILL be filled with rage in beholding wicked abandonment of righteous judgement and justice. WOE to the "Christian" who says, "that's just the way it is", with little or no feeling in sight of abominations and defiance of God's righteous laws! My counsel to you now is to REPENT and seek God's mercy in removing the callousness from your heart. Do not let your "so called" religiosity fool you, before He spues you out of His mouth. Christ saw the money changers engage His rage. Do you think Jesus will be any less enraged with those who behold the money changers of this day amongst God's people, rubbing shoulder's with that filth of God's House?

54 Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.
The Psalmist reveals the treasured place God's statutes have held in his heart. He did not see them as a drudgery. To him, they were the joy that he sang in joyful recollection.
The second half of this verse is a clash of terms. A house designating a fixed place of abode, and pilgrimage which designates an unsettled status of being on a journey. I guess, in this case, the house must be a tent. Whatever the case, this servant clearly sees himself as a sojourner in this world, going to a better place.
This servant, though held in derision by the proud of this world, is one majestic hero for God. He is more than a servant, he is a soldier.

What the Proud Could Not Steal
55 I have remembered thy name, O LORD, in the night, and have kept thy law.
This brings us to the third and final rememberance. He holds a special remembrance of God's name, then names the name of Yahweh.
Undoubtedly, he remembers God's name at all times, but there may be a special significance to the night. In once sense, it is the peaceful time of recollection. A time for meditation. In another sense, it is a time of darkness. When the wicked prevail and the proud reign, there is this period of darkness of the night. In that same place of prevailing iniquity, he would also spend his time profitably in simply remembering the LORD's name.
This servant remained faithful in not forsaking God's leadings, the torath.
For us today, "Do we remember the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, which we bear? Do we keep His words of direction?" Whoever cannot answer in the affirmative, to the second question of keeping His words, let it be know you are not remembering His glorious name of Lord and Saviour!

56 This I had, because I kept thy precepts.
"This I had" is a strange phrase. The question necessarily arises as to, "What was done to him, or what did he have, or what was accredited to him?"
The last part tells us the why, in any case. He "kept, observed, guarded" God's precepts.
Since this section is divided by "remembering", I surmise the answer to the question would be contained in this "remembering" section. Based on that, I would conclude what he had was that covenantal name because of his obedience to God. If obedience wasn't important, he most certainly could never have approached God in the beginning on the basis of "servant". Remember, a servant is one who serves. If one doesn't serve, he certainly can't be called a servant. I know, that logic proves a little inconvenient in this age.
Though the proud can slander and steal, there was this one thing that they could not remove. The faithful servant could not be separated from God's name because his heart was still founded in God's precepts.

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All quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible

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